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Soaring overseas medical costs

UK travel insurers paid out around £3.9 million a week for the medical treatment of Brits abroad last year – the highest amount for six years. That's over £200m a year just in medical costs - but these figures need some better understanding in order to understand the true extent of exposure, because whilst the average is £1275 a person per claim - there are a significant number of medical claims that cost a much smaller amount - including those part covered by EHIC. So it is worth considering the extent of exposure in worst case situations - because these situations happen probably more often than anyone cares to think about in relation to oneself.

According to new research from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), 159,000 British tourists needed medical treatment when abroad last year, with the total costs for travel insurers reaching a total of £201 million. Despite this, one in five Brits say that they travelled overseas last year without travel insurance.

The ABI has reminded travellers about the high cost of treatment when away, especially in the US and on cruises, pointing them towards the case where a 15-day stay in a US hospital on a ventilator after a stroke cost around £233,000, while a man who suffered a heart attack on a cruise ship racked up a bill of £202,000 after having to be evacuated by air ambulance.

Indeed onestop4: has claim experience that goes close to these amounts - and whilst we all love to travel to more remote and exotic locations, and even those we consider to be well catered for medically - but actually are not - the outcome is the same, we need to get you home and into hospital here as quickly as possible - but if you cannot be transported, if it is not safe to move you, we have to wait until the opportunity to get you back is available without causing more harm  - and that can mean weeks.

Whilst the ABI have recognised that cruise medical claims are high - as a specialist in this field for insurance we know the average day in a cruise ships medical facility is now close on $18,000 (yes dollars, because onboard everything is routinely dollars). Whilst they can treat a fair amount of routine health problems - there are many that require treatment in a hospital on shore. So adding onto this cost will be evacuation, then once you are better flights home - or if needed and it is safe to do so, air ambulance home. Which is why cruise insurance is so needed and a condition of booking for most cruise resellers.

Of the total 510,000 travel insurance claims dealt with last year, the 159,000 medical expenses accounted for 52 per cent of claims costs, cancellations accounted for 38 per cent and lost baggage or money for four per cent, according to the ABI.

Onestop4 as a specialist travel insurance provider can attest that a more mature client base actually reduces the % of medical claims, but increases the cost of the average medical claim -  and the % of cancellation claims is nearer double the national average. LIfe has a habit of throwing spanners into the works as you get older. So taking out insurance as soon as you have booked your trip is the only answer to ensure you are fully protected.